Archive for the ‘Express 200’ Category

More than a Finger to Save Kiribati & Amsterdam

Posted by Ken on October 9, 2013
Posted under Express 200

The effects of rising sea levels due to climate change are to be felt the hardest in low-lying coastal areas, such as Kiribati in the Pacific islands. This could spell the creation of a new type of climate refugee, where residents of low-lying nations flee from the dangers of rising seas. Having experienced the effects of rising seas, the City of Amsterdam has announced plans to invest €45 million in financially viable projects that make a demonstrable contribution to saving energy, the generation of sustainable energy and energy efficiency. It reminds us of the legend of the boy who put his finger in the dike (a sea wall) to stop water flooding Holland’s lowlands. Read more


The Myth: Little Dutch Boy, The   by Peter Miller

Dutch legend has it that there was once a small boy who upon passing a dike  (or dam) on his way to school noticed a slight leak as the sea trickled in through a small hole. Knowing that he would be in trouble if he were to be late for school, the boy pocked his finger into the hole and so stemmed the flow of water. Some time later a passerby saw him and went to get help. This came in the form of other men who were able to effect repairs on the dyke and seal up the leak.

This story is told to children to teach them that if they act quickly and in time, even they with their limited strength and resources can avert disasters. The fact that the Little Dutch Boy used his finger to stop the flow of water, is used as an illustration of self-sacrifice. The physical lesson is also taught: a small trickle of water soon becomes a stream and the stream a torrent and the torrent a flood sweeping all before it, Dyke material, roadways and cars, and even railway tracks and bridges and whole trains.

This tale originates from the American writer Mary Mapes Dodge and is in fact not a real myth, although many people believe it is. She published this tale in ‘Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates’ in 1865. The Little Dutch Boy is a very popular myth in the United States (and other countries), but is not well known in the Netherlands and has probably been imported there by American tourists.


By Nick Perry for Associated Press (3 October 2013):

• A man is trying to convince New Zealand judges that he’s a refugee… of climate change

• He hails from Kiribati, an island nation with implications from rising sea levels

• He claims the rising tides are killing crops, flooding homes and sickening residents

• He believes returning to the island would endanger the lives of his two youngest children

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A man from one of the lowest-lying nations on Earth is trying to convince New Zealand judges that he’s a refugee — suffering not from persecution, but from climate change.

The 37-year-old and his wife left his remote atoll in the Pacific nation of Kiribati six years ago for higher ground and better prospects in New Zealand, where their three children were born. Immigration authorities have twice rejected his argument that rising sea levels make it too dangerous for him and his family to return to Kiribati.

So on Oct. 16, the man’s lawyer, Michael Kidd, plans to argue the case before New Zealand’s High Court. Kidd, who specializes in human rights cases, told The Associated Press he will appeal the case all the way to the country’s Supreme Court if necessary.

Legal experts consider the man’s case a long shot, but it will nevertheless be closely watched, and might have implications for tens of millions of residents in low-lying islands around the world. Kiribati, an impoverished string of 33 coral atolls about halfway between Hawaii and Australia, has about 103,000 people and has been identified by scientists as among the nations most vulnerable to climate change.

In a transcript of the immigration case obtained by the AP, the Kiribati man describes extreme high tides known as king tides that he says have started to regularly breach Kiribati’s defenses — killing crops, flooding homes and sickening residents. New Zealand immigration laws prevent the AP from naming him.

The man said that around 1998, king tides began regularly breaching the sea walls around his village, which was overcrowded and had no sewerage system. He said the fouled drinking water would make people vomit, and that there was no higher ground that would allow villagers to escape the knee-deep water.

He said returning to the island would endanger the lives of his two youngest children.

“There’s no future for us when we go back to Kiribati,” he told the tribunal, according to the transcript. “Especially for my children. There’s nothing for us there.”

The man’s lawyer said the family is currently living and working on a New Zealand farm.

Last week, an international panel of climate scientists issued a report saying that it was “extremely likely” that human activity was causing global warming, and predicted that oceans could rise by as much as 1 meter (3.3 feet) by the end of the century. If that were to happen, much of Kiribati would simply disappear.

Though that is a dire prospect, New Zealand’s Immigration and Protection Tribunal has said it is not one that is addressed by laws dealing with refugees.

In a decision recently made public, tribunal member Bruce Burson said the legal concept of a refugee is someone who is being persecuted, which requires human interaction. He said the tribunal rejected the man’s claim because nobody is persecuting him.

The tribunal found there was no evidence that the environmental conditions on Kiribati were so bad that the man and his family would face imminent danger should they return. Burson said the man’s claim was also rejected because the family’s predicament was no different than that faced by the wider population of Kiribati.

In his court appeal, Kidd said the fact that many people face the same threat is no grounds to dismiss a claim. He also argued that his client did suffer an indirect form of human persecution because climate change is believed to be caused by the pollution humans generate. He said his client also would face the threat of a climate-induced breakdown in law and order should he return.

Bill Hodge, a constitutional law expert and associate professor at the University of Auckland, said he applauded Kidd’s “ingenious arguments” but didn’t think they would succeed because his client hasn’t been singled out and victimized due to something like his gender, race or political persuasion.

But Hodge added that even if the Kiribati man loses, his case might make a good argument for expanding the definition of what constitutes a refugee. He said he expected there would be increasing pressure on nations like New Zealand and Australia to help provide new homes for Pacific Islanders threatened by rising seas.

Tidal gauges indicate the world’s oceans have been rising at an annual rate of 3.2 millimeters (0.1 inches) since 1970. Many scientists expect that rate to accelerate and for climate change to trigger more intense storms, which may pose an even more pressing threat to many of the world’s low-lying islands.

Kiribati’s government is pursuing its own strategies. It has paid a deposit for 6,000 acres in nearby Fiji, which Kiribati President Anote Tong has said will provide food security and a possible refuge for future generations. The nation has also been talking with a Japanese firm about the possibility of constructing a floating island, which would cost billions of dollars.

Rimon Rimon, a Kiribati government spokesman who said his opinions on the matter were his own, said he thought the man in New Zealand was taking the wrong approach. He said the government is working hard to train people in skills like nursing, carpentry and automotive repairs so that if they do leave Kiribati, they can be productive in their adoptive countries.

“Kiribati may be doomed by climate change in the near future,” he said. “But just claiming refugee status due to climate change is the easy way out.”


RYOT NOTE: Kribati is experiencing some of the many negative affects of climate change. The Ian Somerhalder Foundation is dedicated to reversing those affects and positively impacting the planet, by empowering, educating and collaborating with people and projects. They are comprised of a group of people who view the environment as an interconnected organism of which we are not separate but a part of. Click the gray box to learn more, donate and Become the News!



Amsterdam launches Climate & Energy Fund

From the I am Amsterdam portal (4 October 2013):

The City of Amsterdam has announced plans to invest €45 million in financially viable and sustainable energy projects. On 3 October 2013, Alderperson Maarten van Poelgeest launched the Amsterdam Climate & Energy Fund at the Amsterdam ArenA. The fund will invest in large-scale projects that make a demonstrable contribution to saving energy, the generation of sustainable energy and energy efficiency. An external body will be responsible for operating the fund.

Banks often deem sustainable investments as being too high-risk, especially in the initial stages of the project. As such, the new fund will be able to perform an important function, allowing the city authorities to boost investment in sustainability while retaining returns in line with the prevailing market. Alderperson Van Poelgeest: “It’s important that plans of entrepreneurs that try to make our city more sustainable get a fair chance. But this is not a subsidy, the projects have to be financially viable so the investment will be recouped.”

Independent watchdog

An independent investment committee comprised of experts in the field will review all investment decisions and perform a watchdog function. A decision will be taken in advance regarding the conditions applied to how the fund administrator operates, the type of projects the fund can invest in and the requirements linked to administration of the fund. The first 30 potential projects have already presented themselves and financing for several projects is expected to be announced by the end of the year. The revolving character of the fund means that any profits will be reinvested in the coming 15 years.

Investment in sustainable initiatives in the city

In addition to the external fund, the Amsterdam Investment Fund also has €4.75 million available for sustainable initiatives in the city. For example, Amsterdammers interested in saving or generating energy in their neighbourhood or launching a project to help reduce air pollution in the city can apply to the City of Amsterdam for a loan. They will benefit from a low, fixed interest rate of 1.99% on a loan with a maximum duration of 15 years. The City of Amsterdam recently selected eight city initiatives, representing a total investment of €1 million. Alderperson Van Poelgeest officially granted the loans on 3 October, with projects including the installation of solar panels on housing complexes, a football clubhouse, a school, a shop and a historical institute. Amsterdam has also granted a loan to facilitate the installation of double glazing in houses. Applications for the next round of loans will be accepted from 3 October.


About the Amsterdam Investment Fund

The Amsterdam city council established the Amsterdam Investment Fund in 2011, facilitated by the sale of shares in NUON. The fund makes a total of €70 million available for investment in projects linked to sustainability, improving the environment and addressing air pollution. The money is destined for investment in projects devised by residents, businesses, knowledge institutions and community organisations aimed at saving energy, generating renewable energy or improving air quality in Amsterdam. Investment is targeted at projects that offer strong social returns and contribute to the transition of energy or CO2 savings.

Welcome to a Warmer World….

Posted by Ken on October 9, 2013
Posted under Express 200

This issue of ABC Carbon Express comes to you from the National Energy Efficiency Conference 2013 which was officially opened this morning by Ms Grace Fu, Singapore’s Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office. She made it very clear in her opening remarks that cutting energy use – through energy efficiency – is a primary measure to avoid the worst impacts of a warmer world, which is inevitable. She drew attention to the latest IPCC report and confirmed Singapore’s commitment to reduce its emissions, through a variety of mitigation measures, but also by getting prepared for a higher temperature regime and rising sea levels. Adaptation is essential as worse is to come. Managing with less and being more efficient are essential. The conference was also a platform for global and local companies to showcase what they have achieved and are committed to. Recognition also for Energy Efficiency National Partnership award winners, which included Nestle, Asia Pacific Breweries, Eastman Chemicals and Global Foundries. The occasion was also a launch for my book Race for Sustainability – now the Minister has her copy! – and with all this in mind we concentrate our attention on energy efficiency in practically all the articles we offer in this issue. What we don’t have yet is the list of the 100 Global Sustain Ability Leaders for 2013. You will have to wait until the next issue this month. As well as more reports and case studies from this event and others which we are attending. – Ken Hickson

Profile: Sir Jonathon Porritt

Posted by Ken on October 9, 2013
Posted under Express 200

The carbon bubble will burst, warns Jonathon Porritt. It’s already too late to avoid that particular Hobson’s choice: either we burn the planet by crashing through the 2°C barrier and on to 4°C or even higher, or the bubble bursts, with very severe economic consequences. But we don’t have to go on making it worse – and we don’t have to further penalise the world’s poor in managing the outfall. The principal alternatives to fossil fuels (renewables and energy efficiency) are even more important in developing and emerging countries as they are in the rich world. His book “The World We Made” looks at what might be in 2050.Read More


From the editor:

We met Sir Jonathon Porritt (again) in Singapore last week at the launch of his latest book, “The World We Made”.  This man with his feet firmly on the ground is the founder of Forum for the Future and in his book forecasts – with fiction merging with fact – what the world will be like in 2050. We take a piece Jonathan wrote in the Forum’s magazine to give some insight into his thoughts and his writing.

By Jonathon Porritt in Green Futures (11 June 2013):

The economic consequences of a warming world will be severe, but there’s still time to lessen them, says Forum for the Future’s Founder-Director.

Whenever I see ‘sustainability’ included in a long list of issues to be addressed by a company or a local authority, I find it difficult to avoid exploding with rage. Whatever else it is (and readers of Green Futures will have their own views about that), it is not ‘an issue’.

You can see this attitude reflected in the different shades of corporate sustainability we see today. For the vast majority of companies, sustainability is simply added on; only a minority are seriously intent on mainstreaming sustainability into everything they do. Sustainability as “the central organising principle of everything we do” (the rallying cry of the Sustainable Development Commission before this frighteningly retrogressive Coalition Government axed it in 2011), is as elusive a big idea as ever.

There has always been some tension about the hierarchy of big ideas in this space, going right back to the Brundtland Report (‘Our Common Future’) in 1987. Its authors argued passionately for strict equivalence between biophysical sustainability on the one hand (maintaining the life support systems on which all life depends) and social justice on the other. That was fine, but it all got much more divisive when they went on to extol the virtues of high levels of economic growth as the only way of securing social justice. Then, the preconditionality debate broke loose: some argued that there is no hope of achieving social justice without first securing the environment, while others maintained that there’s no way of protecting natural resources without first eliminating social injustice. And protagonists on both sides felt – and still feel – very strongly about this!

Now, this debate has taken on a tragic new urgency, thanks to the growing threat of the carbon bubble at the heart of the global economy.

Back in April, an organisation called Carbon Tracker, supported by the Grantham Research Institute in London, updated its analysis of how global investors are responding to accelerating climate change. It’s not a pretty picture. Every year, financial regulators allow the big oil, gas and coal companies to declare some of their existing reserves as new assets on their balance sheets. The share price of the companies is heavily influenced by the hypothetical value of those assets, with investors working on the expectation that they will be fully developed and have a long, and presumably profitable, production lifetime.

Unfortunately, as Carbon Tracker’s ‘Unburnable Carbon’ report demonstrates, were those expectations to be met, with the assets realised and the dividends duly paid out, the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from that production would push us way beyond the politicians’ comforting 2°C threshold – the upper limit for an average temperature increase before the end of the century if we are to have any chance of preventing runaway climate change. Yet every year we pump up that carbon bubble, to the tune of a staggering $624 billion of new investments in 2012.

Bubbles always burst. Confronted with the increasingly traumatic consequences of a rapidly warming world (already a harsh physical reality for many), politicians will be forced into panic policy responses. They will seek to do in a very short time what we should have been doing over the last 25 years, including putting a higher price on every tonne of CO2. And when they do, all those oil, gas and coal assets will first become unviable and then completely stranded, destroying trillions of dollars of economic value in the process.

It’s already too late to avoid that particular Hobson’s choice: either we burn the planet by crashing through the 2°C barrier and on to 4°C or even higher, or the bubble bursts, with very severe economic consequences. But we don’t have to go on making it worse – and we don’t have to further penalise the world’s poor in managing the outfall. As is now well understood, the principal alternatives to fossil fuels (renewables and energy efficiency) are even more important in developing and emerging countries as they are in the rich world.

If ever there was a preconditional imperative, this is surely it. Accelerating climate change, caused by the continuing emissions of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, represents an existential threat to our species – by which I mean it threatens the stability and economic wellbeing of every society on Earth.

This is the “inconvenient truth” at the heart of the global economy today. It is recognised (although often set aside) by a minority of politicians. It remains totally unseen as far as the vast majority are concerned. But if we don’t move very rapidly indeed through programmes of radical decarbonisation in every sector of the economy, increased social justice will become a very distant dream. Indeed, the lives of billions of people will become too horrendous to contemplate.

So can it still be done? I believe it can – which is the main thrust of my new book, “The World We Made”, to be published in October. But debates about whether social justice or biophysical sustainability ‘comes first’ are little more than a self-indulgent irrelevance. Some ‘issue’!

Jonathon Porritt is Founder-Director of Forum for the Future

Source: and

Holcim Shows How to Sustain the Energy Efficiency Drive

Posted by Ken on October 9, 2013
Posted under Express 200

With “Sustaining the Energy Efficiency Drive” as the theme for this year’s National Energy Efficiency Conference (NEEC) in Singapore, the organisers have gone out of their way to demonstrate through a host of excellent speakers and sessions that energy efficiency is being effectively managed and sustained by hundreds of companies at home and aboard. Keynote speaker on the first day, Aidan Lynan of the Holcim Group Support, set the pace by demonstrating how his company has gone about about “Creating a Lean Energy Culture with Sustainability”. Read More

Sustaining the Energy Efficiency Drive:

Industries and Experts Sets the Pace for the

National Energy Efficiency Conference

9 & 10 October 2013 at Max Atria Singapore Expo

“Sustaining the Energy Efficiency Drive” is easier said than done, but as it is the theme for this year’s National Energy Efficiency Conference (NEEC) in Singapore, the organisers have gone out of their way to demonstrate through a host of excellent speakers and sessions that energy efficiency is being effectively managed and sustained by hundreds of companies at home and aboard.

Speakers from industries both large and small, in sectors ranging from steel-making to pharmaceutical, will present case studies and best practices on how energy efficiency can be put to work and be sustained with results. All these will be done over two power-packed days, through four plenary sessions and twelve breakout sessions.

Some of the world’s leading businesses like 3M, Holcim, ABB, Siemens, Nestle, Exxon Mobil, McKinsey and Accenture will share with delegates the benefit of their energy efficiency experiences, as well as some of Singapore’s most successful businesses like Asia Pacific Breweries and NatSteel. There are also speakers from some of Singapore leading research centres – the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS), the Energy Studies Institute at National University of Singapore and the Energy Research Institute @ NTU.

To get proceedings underway in a most efficient manner on 9 October, the opening ceremony will be combined with the presentation of this year’s EENP awards to deserving winners, with guest of honour Ms Grace Fu, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, who is Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The EENP Awards comprise four award categories – Excellence in Energy Management, Best Practices, Outstanding Energy Managers of the Year and Best Energy Efficiency Practices for Public Sector Agencies – rewarding those who have demonstrated exemplary performance and commitment to energy management efforts and have been proactive in implementing energy efficiency improvements.

This is Singapore’s third annual NEEC and is part of the learning network of the Energy Efficiency National Partnership (EENP) programme, organised by the National Environment Agency (NEA), the Energy Market Authority (EMA) and the Economic Development Board (EDB). Its main objective is to provide thought leadership in energy efficiency, and to bring together energy efficiency experts and industry energy professionals to share best practices and case studies of successful projects.

There is also an exhibition held in conjunction with the conference, featuring a record number of exhibitors, with a range of energy efficient industrial technologies, practices and solutions.

Some of the conference highlights, speakers and topics covered include the following:

 Keynote speaker on the first day is Aidan Lynam, Area Manager, South Asia / ASEAN, for the Holcim Group Support, who will set the pace by demonstrating how his company went about Creating a Lean Energy Culture with Sustainability.

 To show how Solar Power is Part of a Sustainable Energy Strategy, assisting the drive towards energy efficiency is none other than Dr Thomas Reindl of the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS).

 Making Energy Efficiency Sustainable is the subject of the first morning’s plenary session when Key Elements Towards a Sustainable and Profitable Business Solution for Energy Efficiency will be covered by Peter Halliday, of Siemens Building Technologies, Harsh Choudhary, Energy Efficiency Specialist, from McKinsey and Company and Vinod Kesava, of The Green Asia Group Pte Ltd.

 Energy Management Information Systems, including The role of energy management information systems in energy efficiency will be covered in a plenary session by Malavika Bambawale, Senior Manager, Strategy and Sustainability Services, Accenture and Li Huishi, Consultant, KBC Advanced Technology.

 Energy Efficiency Financing will be covered in a plenary session on day two by Glen Plumbridge , Managing Director, Sustainable Development Capital (Asia) Limited, Harvey Koenig, Executive Director, Tax , KPMG Singapore & Rahul Kar, Director, Climate Change & Sustainability, KPMG in Singapore, joined by Kavita Gandhi, Executive Director, Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS).

 Breakout sessions on the first day cover case studies in Energy Management Excellence, Best Practices in Energy Efficiency (Optimisation projects) and Energy Efficiency in High Technology Facilities – Laboratories and Cleanrooms, Best Practices in Energy Efficiency (Installation of tri-gen & Waste heat recovery) and Energy Efficiency in High Technology Facilities – Data Centres.

 Setting up a Sustainable Energy Management System will feature in one of the day two breakout sessions, alongside Energy Management in Organisations, Best Practices in Energy Efficiency (Heat Recovery / Heat Integration), Energy Auditing Case Studies and Best Practices in Energy Efficiency (Process Chillers & Chilled Water).

 The closing plenary session on day two, moderated by Dr Elspeth Thomson of ESI, will bring together a number of moderators to impart the highlights of their sessions and answer questions from the floor.

This year’s conference and exhibition gives delegates the opportunity to gain from two intensive days with such a comprehensive array of expertise and experience representing the best practices at home and aboard. No excuse for not picking up some workable tips to start and sustain an energy efficiency drive in any business or industry.


This preview of NEEC 2013 is contributed by Ken Hickson, Chairman and CEO of Sustain Ability Showcase (SASA), Chairman of the Green Purchasing Network Singapore and author of the book “Race for Sustainability” which will be launched at this year’s conference, where he will also act as moderator for two break-out sessions on day one.



“Holcim Leadership Journey 2012 – 2014″ Program to further strengthen market and cost leadership to generate additional operating profit of at least CHF 1.5 billion by end of 2014


To sustainably improve the return on invested capital, Holcim Ltd is launching a program to further strengthen market and cost leadership. The Executive Committee and the management of the Group companies are together starting the “Holcim Leadership Journey” with specific measures to increase operating profit by at least CHF 1.5 billion by the end of 2014. The base line is the financial year 2011 (excluding 2011 one-off charges of CHF 375 million and without fluctuations in currency, changes in scope of consolidation and under similar market conditions). CEO Bernard Fontana: “After intensive discussions at the senior management level and based on close collaboration with the Group companies, I am confident that we will achieve these targets. At least CHF 150 million positive impact will be achieved in 2012.”

The “Holcim Leadership Journey” focuses on the following areas:

•Customer Excellence by improving customer focus and innovation

•Cost Leadership:

◦Increasing energy efficiency and the use of alternative fuels and raw materials

◦Reducing logistics costs

◦Streamlining of the procurement process globally

◦Increasing fixed costs savings

•Further reduction of net working capital and selective divestments

•Reduction of the investment cost per tonne of new cement capacity

•Further development and generation of talents and leaders as well as strengthening of the social dialogue with all stakeholders

•The realization of this program anticipates one-off costs of less than CHF 200 million.


Customer Excellence by improving customer focus and innovation (additional operating profit by end of 2014: CHF 500 million)

The focus will be on measures to strengthen the management of customer value and loyalty, margin and prices as well as sales force. Furthermore, Holcim will implement standardized performance indicators across the whole Group to measure the progress in marketing and sales.

Customers will benefit from Holcim’s increased understanding of their needs. The Group’s ability to innovate in fields such as integrated market solutions, new materials, or low CO2 solutions will enable it to fully meet those customer needs with improved products and services.

Increasing energy efficiency and the use of alternative fuels and raw materials (additional operating profit by end of 2014: > CHF 300 million)

Holcim will increase its energy efficiency and the use of alternative fuels and raw materials. Various measures are planned: from clinker grinding improvements and kiln burner updates, to optimization of the fuel mix in cement production as well as initiatives in the field of energy procurement. The cost reduction measures will be supported by some “fast return” Capex projects.

Holcim sets aside some CHF 100 million every year to further improve energy efficiency in the Group. In 2010, a fund was set up for this purpose. The fund is an element in the Group’s comprehensive energy strategy and is financed by the proceeds from the sale of excess CO2 emissions certificates. Projects for electricity generation by means of waste heat recovery, wind power and alternative fuels as replacement of fossil heat carriers have already been approved. With these projects alone, Holcim will save around 200,000 tonnes of CO2 annually which is approximately as much as the annual CO2-emissions of a small town with 30,000 inhabitants.

Concrete is a highly energy and CO2-efficient building material. After water, it is globally the second most consumed commodity by volume, and vital to a functioning infrastructure. Production of the intermediate product cement is, however, energy-intensive – with thermal and electrical energy accounting for approximately 40 percent of the cost of production. In US dollar terms, energy costs have risen by around 8 percent per year over the last five years. In addition, CO2 emissions occur – 60 percent of which are caused by the chemical conversion of stone in the rotary kiln and 40 percent by the use of fossil fuels.

Because the European cement industry currently emits less CO2 than it is entitled to, large sums of money are raised each year from the sale of excess emissions certificates. The reasons for this excess are the sluggish European growth and the industry’s endeavors to boost energy efficiency and reduce emissions. Holcim is leading in these areas in particular.

Holcim allocates these proceeds to a fund to promote energy efficiency – normally some CHF 100 million every year. The fund launched in 2010 should help ensure the realization of innovative projects across the Group in the field of heat recovery, the utilization of alternative fuels and raw materials, as well as wind power and hydroelectricity. The objective is clear: to save fossil fuels and boost energy efficiency, resulting in an improvement in our environmental footprint and a reduction in production costs; this is particularly important against the backdrop of rising global energy costs. The energy fund is an element in the Group’s comprehensive strategy for countering these cost pressures.

Holcim has produced a list of criteria for the assessment of projects to be financed. The emphasis is on economic efficiency, the potential to reduce CO2 and the possibility of multiplying innovations speedily and successfully across the Group.

The creation of the Fund led to competition between the Group companies to produce the best project proposals, and sparked a whole series of new approaches for sustainable energy projects. 2010 saw funds earmarked for five heat recovery plants in Vietnam, India, Romania, Lebanon and Switzerland. These installations are under construction and will be commissioned between the end of 2011 and 2013. Another six projects were approved this year. They include four waste heat recovery units in Canada, Slovakia, Mexico and India, as well as two installations for the utilization of alternative fuels and raw materials in Germany and France. These facilities will be commissioned in 2013 and 2014.

Once completed, the projects approved to date will produce a cumulative 36 megawatts of electricity – equivalent to the electricity needs of a very large cement plant. Thereby Holcim will save around 200,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. That is approximately as much as the annual CO2-emissions of a small town with 30,000 inhabitants.

* * * * * * *

Holcim is one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement and aggregates (crushed stone, gravel and sand) as well as further activities such as ready-mix concrete and asphalt, including services. The Group holds majority and minority interests in around 70 countries on all continents.


UN New Development Goals Must Incorporate Sustainable Energy for All

Posted by Ken on October 9, 2013
Posted under Express 200

The United Nations is aiming high with the new set of “sustainable development goals” for the planet that will replace the current Millennium Development Goals which are set to expire in 2015. The new set of goals, according to The New Media Journal,  will likely require trillions of dollars of spending, a drastic reorganisation of economic production and consumption, and greater effort in the expensive war on climate change. But a timely reminder too that we all need to bear in mind the necessity of securing sustainable energy – access to modern energy services, doubling the global rate of improvement of energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. Goals of the Sustainable Energy for All Campaign. Read more

UN Concocting Mega-Expensive Global ‘Sustainability’ Goals

The New Media Journal (3 October 2013):

The United Nations is planning to create a sweeping new set of “sustainable development goals” for the planet that will likely require trillions of dollars of spending on poverty and the environment, a drastic reorganization of economic production and consumption — especially in rich countries — and even greater effort in the expensive war on climate change.

It’s an agenda that its prominent boosters have declared will make the next 15 years “some of the most transformative in human history,” although the exact nature of the goals themselves, and how they are to be achieved, is unclear.

In typical UN fashion, panels of high-profile international figures have offered up their views, task forces have been commissioned to come up with suggestions, hundreds of non-governmental organizations have been polled, and a 30-nation working group is holding sessions that will extend early into next year before offering more concrete suggestions to the UN General Assembly, where they will be further chewed over.

The goals themselves are slated to become a program of the UN — and all the nations that endorse them — in 2015, as part of what UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called “a universal sustainable development agenda” for the planet — an equally undefined set of far-reaching aspirations for global environmental management and new and expanded roles in the future for the UN’s sprawling array of funds, programs and institutions.

They are supposed to be endorsed at an as-yet-unplanned global UN summit — the successor to the Rio+20 summit on sustainable development which boosted the current elaborate process — in 2015.

According to skeptics such as William Easterly, an economics professor and co-director of New York University’s Development Research Institute, the program also has great potential to become a “huge unworkable mess.” So far, Easterly says, what he sees is a “confused mashup of every development fad of the last 20 years” married to the aim of giving the UN a more central role in economic development — “not a good thing,” in his opinion.

Other experts, such as Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington, are more forgiving. The still-unformed SDGs, he says, are “a way to frame conversations about where we want to be and how much progress we can make. I think right now we’re in the negotiation stage. We’ll get to the campaign in 2015.”

In effect, the UN is hoping to double down on the mixed success of its so-called Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, an eight-point program of mostly anti-poverty measures that was endorsed in 2000 and is slated to expire in 2015 — when the new sustainable development goals, or SDGs, are intended to take their place.

The MDGs aimed largely at improving life for the globe’s most desperate people. They included such targets as cutting in half the number of people around the world living in extreme poverty (less than $1.25 per day); reducing child mortality rates by two-thirds; reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other killer diseases; and cut in half the number of people without access to safe drinking water and sanitation…

Given the diverse sources for the relative success of the MDG effort, there is no telling how much they have cost. But Ban is still exhorting everyone to ante up further. “We must do everything we can to achieve the MDGs by the end of 2015,” he told a special “high-level event” at the UN on September 25, while hailing some $2.5 billion in new contributions from governments, philanthropies and corporations.

The Sustainable Development Goals, however, are much more sweeping, and likely to be much harder to measure. Their overall aim — at least so far — is to marry the specific targeting of the most successful MDGs with the much more sweeping and imprecise language of “sustainability” — a term that has never been very specifically defined.

Roughly speaking, “sustainability” is supposedly centered on the social, economic and environmental well-being of individuals, societies and the entire planet — but without the precision of hard-edged economics to measure its inputs and outcomes.

Instead, the new development agenda is characterized as “one that seeks to achieve inclusive, people-centered, sustainable global development,” in the words of a UN task force composed of some 50 UN agencies and international organizations, which reported on the topic last year. It would also include unspecified “reforms of mechanisms of global governance.”



From the editor: It is always worth reminding readers of the United Nations Campaign Sustainable Energy for all which was launched in 2012. While this is never talked about or written about half as much as it should be, it is never-the-less a real campaign that is gaining traction. When reviewing its Development Goals, the UN and all its relevant agencies and associated organisations, should bear in mind the necessity of securing sustainable energy – access to modern energy services, doubling the global rate of improvement of energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

This is a special guest post from Senator Tim Wirth, vice Chair of the United Nations Foundation’s board of directors appeared on the Sustainable Energy for All website in June 2013.

Among the international development goals proposed by the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda is that of “Securing Sustainable Energy,” including 2030 targets on ensuring universal access to modern energy services, doubling the global rate of improvement of energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. These three objectives, initially put forward in 2011 by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon under the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, are a welcome component of the report, as they are essential for eliminating extreme poverty and achieving a sustainable future.

While energy was not mentioned in the Millennium Development Goals established in 2000, it is widely recognized that  sustainable access to modern energy services is a necessary precondition to reducing poverty and improving health and education – indeed, to all of the MDGs. That’s why some have called energy “the missing MDG,” and why I am encouraged to see energy featured so prominently in conversations leading to the post-2015 development framework.

In the days since the High-level Panel issued its report, I have spoken with colleagues from across the international development spectrum, who have universally praised the panel’s inclusion of energy as a goal.  The Secretary-General deserves much credit for his leadership on this issue, ably supported by Kandeh Yumkella, who has campaigned tirelessly for Sustainable Energy for All as Director-General of UNIDO, Chair of UN-Energy, and now the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sustainable Energy for All.  As consultations on the post-2015 framework continue, serving as a resource for Member States and the General Assembly, energy must remain top of mind both as a means for eliminating poverty, and a goal for achieving sustainability.

In the words of the Secretary-General, “Energy is the golden thread that weaves together economic growth, social equity, and environmental sustainability.” Many Member States have made commitments and implemented national programs toward the Sustainable Energy for All goals. In the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the three interlinked objectives of energy access, efficiency, and renewables, should be the golden thread that weaves together the international development agenda at a global level


Winners and Losers in the Race for Sustainability

Posted by Ken on October 9, 2013
Posted under Express 200

Appropriately, “Race for Sustainability” is being launched at this year’s National Energy Efficiency Conference and among other prominent people quoted and/or profiled  the book is Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Minister for the Environment and Water Resources:, who said earlier this year: “Energy efficiency is, at this point of time, the only game in town. Given that every joule, every kilowatt hour, is drawn from imported energy, we have to conserve and be as efficient as possible.” In the introduction to the book, Ken Hickson says “There’s a sense of urgency about all this. It’s a race against time. It’s a race the world is in danger of losing.” Read More

Introducing the Race for Sustainability

There’s a sense of urgency about all this. It’s a race against time. It’s a race the world is in danger of losing.

We’re on about the urgent need to fix the world’s unhealthy dependency on fossil fuels, which contribute most of the deadly greenhouse gas emissions damaging the atmosphere and bringing about unheard of changes to our climate.

The science is in. Without exception, the world’s international agencies — the United Nations, the World Health Organisation, the World Bank, the International Energy Agency, among others — recognise the gravity of the global problem and call for more to be done to deal with its ramifications.

As long as we continue to dig up and burn fossil fuels; as long as we continue to destroy and burn rainforests; as long as we continue to make, drive, consume, waste products and resources, we stay on the path to destruction.

Dramatic, yes. Painful, yes. But how else will we understand how real is the global problem if we do not hear it the way it is.

But this is not all doom and gloom. In this book — as well as in my previous encyclopaedic eff ort “Th e ABC of Carbon” — I go out of my way to write about the issues and the opportunities.

This book is made up mostly of what I have talked about and written about over the last year or so.

You will also meet some great men and women who are profiled because they have something significant to say. I’ve met them and talked to them so I know they are well and truly off the starting blocks in this race.

This book has been written and produced in Singapore and much of its attention has been on events happening in Asia. But its focus and reach is truly global.

There are many governments who are doing more than we give them credit for. Singapore is among the most committed.

Likewise, most of the leading corporations around the world are taking serious, deliberate and meaningful steps on the sustainability journey.

We report the wise words of the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We hear from Sir Richard Branson and the Carbon War Room. One of the world’s most remarkable visionaries, Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, makes a welcome appearance.

Leaders and visionaries, yes, but also men and women who are prepared to take a stand and to continue to contribute positively through their own organisations or in society at large.

We deal with energy efficiency a lot because we realise it is so important and can make such a difference. Waste management and air pollution both figure prominently.

We look at moves to a cleaner energy future in Asia. We see what’s happening as buildings turn green inside and out.

We see how the events industry is becoming sustainable in a big way. If the London Olympics can set the highest sustainability mark — and produce a new global gold standard — any event of any size or scale can do it.

That very much means that events like the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Singapore — a night race and arguably the most energy-inefficient event in the world — can also be measured and managed in a sustainable fashion.

This motor racing event — talking and writing about it — prompted this book’s title. But the scope and scale of it all goes beyond that topic to cover all things of concern in the sustainability landscape.

We’re said it before — and we won’t hesitate to repeat it — that sustainability is made up of four E’s: Energy, Economy, Environment and Ethics. This goes beyond the “triple bottom line” of John Elkingham — people, planet and profit — with the three pillars being economic, social and ecological.

We don’t think that achieves the sustainable balance that we need for our world, our countries, our companies, or our communities. Energy must be part of the equation. It is a critical pillar. So is Ethics. Not to devalue the importance of “people”, but to us an ethical approach to all we do is essential.

Whether we talk about corporate social responsibility or the even bigger picture of sustainability, we must place equal importance on energy, economy, ethics and the environment.

We hope the book’s contents will reach to people in all walks of life and business. We do want people to wake up to what’s happening in their own street, town, city and country. And to come to realise that we can make some changes for the better.

It does come down to human behaviour and human choices. We can have the best technology in the world — and we are surely at that point where we are very well equipped with what’s needed. We can have the most expensive machinery and the biggest and best buildings. But if we continue to use resources irresponsibly — if we continue to waste food, water and energy, like we have been doing too date — we are not even in the race.

Because it all comes down to you. People matter and people have power. With all the options and the choices available. A power for good or a power abused.

For too long, we have said it is someone else’s problem: Governments. Industry. Oil companies. Forest owners.

Well, the news is out. Just as the science is in. It is your problem and it is my problem.

This book attempts to raise issues and present opportunities. It gives you — the reader — access to a wealth of current and useful information and an introduction to people and organisations who are making a difference.

Read well. Act soon.


What People Are Saying in This Book

Sir Richard Branson, chairman of the Virgin group, who founded the Carbon War Room:

“War is not a nice thing, but a carbon war is the right thing because it’s a call to arms… it is a war worth fighting.”

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCC:

“The world faces a big gap between commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the reductions that scientists say will be needed to minimise catastrophic effects.”

Dr. Fatih Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency:

“It is an economic sin that only one third of all economically viable energy efficiency potential is being realised. In terms of international energy policy implementation, this is an epic failure.”

Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Minister for the Environment and Water Resources:

“Energy efficiency is, at this point of time, the only game in town. Given that every joule, every kilowatt hour, is drawn from imported energy, we have to conserve and be as efficient as possible.”

Lord Paul Drayson, former UK Minister, on motor sport:

“This is the way in which the world needs to move. History begins in 2014 with the first FIA electric race. It will give young people an insight into a future that is fun and cool but which does not damage the environment.”

Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute, who wrote Reinventing Fire:

“Old buildings can be better than new. Th ere is the temptation to tear down and start afresh, but smart retrofitting can mean up to 75% savings on energy use.”

Dr. Nasir Hassan, regional adviser on environmental health for the WHO:

“Outdoor air pollution is identified as the cause of 800,000 deaths a year, while nearly 50% of pneumonia deaths among children under fi ve are due to particulate matter inhaled from indoor air pollution.”

David Fogarty, on Double Helix DNA sleuthing:

“The logging increases global warming with heightened carbon emissions, and landslides through loss of watersheds. It causes loss of livelihoods in forest communities and dents global timber prices.”

Doug Woodring, founder of Ocean Recovery Alliance:

“Already, over 10% of fi sh tested in oceans contain pollutants from plastic in their tissue. The growing plastic waste stream is a resource worth capturing and channelling into products that enhance life, rather than degrade it.”

Kwek Leng Joo, Managing Director of CDL:

“Natural calamities. Climate change. Economic crisis. Business failures. Governance letdowns. Food shortages. Resource scarcity. Ethical lapses. Social breakdowns. Many companies in Singapore and around the world continue to operate in a seemingly indifferent manner, either ignoring or oblivious to the impact and risks these environmental, social and governance issues have on their business.”


Timber Products Paper for Books only from Certified Forests

Posted by Ken on October 9, 2013
Posted under Express 200

News on developments in Australia for advancing the certification of timber products and something in advance of the 2013 Stakeholder Dialogue, part of the Forest Certification Week, brought to you by PEFC, the world’s largest forest certification system, to join concerted efforts to foster and expand sustainable timber supply chains in Asia. True to his own sustainability commitment, Ken Hickson insisted that “Race for Sustainability” was printed on PEFC certified paper, making it the first book totally produced in Singapore and the first from publisher World Scientific to have the PEFC mark. Read More

AFS Seeks Public Comments on the New Australian Standard for Chain of Custody

20 September 2013:

Australian Forestry Standard Limited (AFS Ltd) has put out a call for public comment on the draft revised Australian Standard® for Chain of Custody for Forest Products (AS4707). AFS Ltd is the PEFC-endorsed national forest certification system for Australia.

This Australian Standard underpins the traceability of wood from well-managed forests into the wood and paper products used every day and, along with the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management (AS4708), it is a key component of the Australian Forest Certification Scheme (AFCS).

“The Australian Forest Certification Scheme is recognized as a world class forest certification system,” said Mr. Peter Zed, Chairman of the AS4707 Standards Reference Committee. “The chain of custody standard is a vital component of the AFCS system, because it ensures that forest certification claims made on forest products are valid and can be verified.”

The Standards Reference Committee was established to carry out the review of the current standard. The Committee is comprised of experts with relevant skills and expertise and from a broad range of organizations involved in the production and distribution of forest products, including furniture, paper and building timbers.

“These organizations are keen to get public feedback on how the revised standard can be further improved,” Mr. Zed explained. “Key stakeholders have already commented on the draft, and now we are inviting the public to provide their input.”

The review process is being undertaken in accordance with Standards Australia procedures. AFS Ltd is accredited as a Standards Development Organization and can therefore develop and review Australian Standards® in accordance with the procedures. Compliance with the procedures is subject to audit by the Accreditation Board of Standards Development Organizations.

Further Information

The draft revised standard and comment form can be downloaded from the AFS Ltd website

Comments should be submitted by 8 November 2013


PEFC Forest Certification Week 2013

Advancing Sustainable Trade in Asia

Hotel Istana, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (11-15 November 2013)

Asia’s forest industry has grown massively over the past 15 years gaining international recognition for production of forest based products. This has triggered a tremendous interest in providing evidence of sustainable forest management through forest certification, with an emphasis on bottom-up, national forest certification systems that are independently managed at local level.

As a result, interest in PEFC, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, is rapidly increasing, with Malaysia being the first country in Asia to have achieved PEFC endorsement already in 2009. China joined PEFC in 2011, and the endorsement process of its national system is currently ongoing. Indonesia is the latest country to become a PEFC member, with other countries such as Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam evaluating the value and benefits that PEFC holds for their respective countries.

In recognition of the growing importance of Asia, PEFC is holding its first ever PEFC Week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 11-15 November 2013.

The event, organized with the support of the Malaysian Timber Certification Council, combines a range of events, from the 4th Annual PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue (14-15 November 2013), training seminars, and side events, open to all, to the 18th PEFC General Assembly and associated workshops (11-13 November 2013), open to PEFC Council members and invited guests.

Asia holds the key to unlocking the production and trade of sustainable forest products. Participate in the 2013 Stakeholder Dialogue, part of the Forest Certification Week, brought to you by PEFC, the world’s largest forest certification system, to join concerted efforts to foster and expand sustainable timber supply chains in Asia. Learn about the opportunities and enabling conditions to mainstream sustainable production & trade in the region. Discuss how current bottlenecks can be addressed to drive sustainability solutions forward.

PEFC’s Stakeholder Dialogue (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 14/15 November 2013) will bring together up to 250 diverse stakeholders and key actors across forest sector landscape to engage in solutions-oriented discussions. The Dialogue is part of the PEFC Forest Certification Week, which also features the 18th PEFC General Assembly and associated workshops (11-13 November 2013, open to PEFC Council members and invited guests).

Meet regional and global experts on sustainable forest management, forest certification and supply chain management.

Hear perspectives from different sectors along the timber supply chain.

Discuss the status and forecast for sustainable forest production & trade in Asia.

Share your views on how to increase awareness of and benefit from domestic markets for responsibly sourced products.

The world is waiting for the energy utility of the future?

Posted by Ken on October 9, 2013
Posted under Express 200

By 2030, some utilities could very well be left behind in the new energy economy. 40% of utilities predict ‘Complete Transformation’ by 2030. An important finding from the PwC survey reported in Green tech Media is that it’s not just renewables, it’s also the first fuel — that is, energy efficiency — that is driving investment for many utilities, particularly in Asia. Look out for more by way of clean energy innovations and advances at the Singapore International Energy Week which starts 28 October and you’ll also hear what the International Energy centre is up to by way of spreading the word in Singapore on energy literary and the low carbon future. Read More

Can the world wait that long for the utility of the future?

Katherine Tweed in Green Tech Media  (8 October  2013):

The words “utility” and “transformational” are rarely, if ever, tossed together in the same sentence. Yet utilities say they are expecting an overhaul of their business in the coming decades, and many realize such a metamorphosis is essential to survival.

The 13th annual global survey of utility executives from consulting firm PwC found that 94 percent of participants said the utility business model would undergo important changes or a complete transformation between now and 2030.

If that timeframe seems a little lengthy compared to the evolution of other sectors, it is. But in utility years, it’s practically the speed of light. Even more interesting is utilities’ increasing acknowledgement that they need to change.

The changing dynamics, especially the move to decentralized generation and the need for two-way power flows to accommodate assets at the grid’s edge, have been happening for some time. What is interesting is that the region with the highest expectation of transformation is not Europe with its aggressive renewable goals, but rather Asia, where nearly 70 percent of participants see transformation coming.

Many of those surveyed don’t see a world that ditches centralized generation all together, but rather a mix of distributed energy resources and more centralized plants. But it doesn’t take a complete overhaul of the generation mix to cause havoc for utilities.

A free report that was just released by GTM Research looks at the issues at the grid edge that are driving the changes happening in the electric utility market. With enough rooftop PV on a distribution circuit or a large number of wind farms on a single feeder, utilities have to find ways to balance the intermittent renewable power while still using as much of it as possible.

An important finding from the PwC survey is that it’s not just renewables, it’s also the first fuel — that is, energy efficiency — that is driving investment for many utilities, particularly in Asia.

No matter what the drivers are, experts across the industry agree that the time is now for investment in new systems and regulatory overhaul. By 2030, some utilities could very well be left behind in the new energy economy.

“Technology changes, particularly in IT, and the potential that arises from smart grids and demand-side management is going to change the business model in the power utilities sector,” asserted Jeroen van Hoof, assurance leader at PwC Power & Utilities. “The big question is whether existing players are capable of driving that change, or whether the momentum will come from other entrants. If it’s the latter, the role of existing utilities could shift to the low-margin business of providing backup capacity.”


Greening Production & Supply Chains Complement Energy Efficient Solutions

Posted by Ken on October 9, 2013
Posted under Express 200

The Rocky Mountain Institute, reflecting on the latest IPCC report, says necessary reduction in emissions “is still possible if we act now, but it will take serious commitment—commitment to energy efficiency, to the renewable energy sector, to our forests and agricultural lands, and to advanced information technology”. Greening the supply chain, getting off the over-consumption bandwagon and transforming the way we produce goods will go a long way towards emissions reductions too, is the message Ken Hickson will be taking to the 2013 Green Summit in Taipei on 29 October  with the theme The Rise of the Green Economy2013 and the subsequent The 4th Taiwan International Green Industry Show (​TIGIS 2013) at Taipei World Trade Center. Read More

The Rise of the Green Economy, Taipei, Taiwan, 29 October 2013

Ken Hickson is one of the speakers at the 2013 Green Summit in Taipei on 29 October with the theme The Rise of the Green Economy. For more information go to:

It will be followed by the The 4th Taiwan International Green Industry Show (​TIGIS 2013), which  will prove a key moment that joined the international green community that turned up in record numbers for incredible prospects. Third edition of TiGiS (TIGIS 2012) let 180 companies use 321 booths — a 20% growth in exhibitors and 19% increase in scale.

TiGiS has attracted 6,402 professional buyers who came from 53 different counties who generated a projected US$28 million in business. Important buyers include trade missions from China, the Province of Ontario (Canada), Energa Obrot, an affiliate under the Energa umbrella (Poland’s top power supplier), and other big names such as KEPCO (Korea), SCHOTT SOLAR (Germany), Current Service, Tomoe Shokai (Japan), Senoz, Q-CELLS(Turkey), and Dalle Energy(Indonesia).


Taipei Times reported earlier this year that Taiwan’s green energy sector production value of equipment, components and parts expanded in the first quarter of the year on the back of the improving solar energy industry.

Green energy production value totaled NT$25.43 billion (US$849.11 million) last quarter, up 24.8 percent from the previous quarter. The figure contracted 8 percent from a year ago due to a high baseline, the researcher said.

Analysts attributed the upward trend to stabilizing prices of solar energy products and the withdrawal from the local market of major European solar energy companies.

The production value of Taiwan’s solar energy products for the first three months of the year jumped 27.5 percent quarter-on-quarter to NT$22.78 billion, the report said.

Solar energy industry production value of equipment, components and parts accounted for nearly 90 percent of the total green energy sector in the first quarter, with a 7.4 percent share for wind energy and 3 percent for biofuels.

First-quarter production value of the country’s wind energy and biofuels reached NT$1.89 billion and NT$760 million, up 4.4 percent and 8.6 percent respectively, the report said.

The report forecast that Taiwan’s green energy sector total production value of equipment, components and parts will expand 2.1 percent year-on-year to NT$106.98 billion, with those in the solar energy, wind energy and biofuel industries rising 1.5 percent, 11.3 percent and 0.1 percent respectively.



Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Insititute (30 September 2013):

Climate Change—The Time for Action is Now

Let me start this blog by quoting—verbatim—several key conclusions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Climate Change 2013, also known as the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5):

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia… The atmosphere and the ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased… Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850… Changes in many extreme weather and climate events have been observed since about 1950… It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century…

The IPCC does not mince words. And despite a frontal assault by climate skeptics, attempting to use the scientific nuances of the report to sow doubt, the conclusions stand as a rock. Some media outlets are emphasizing the small shifts in scientific understanding or the recent reduction in the rate of warming of the atmosphere (as opposed to oceans), leaving casual readers confused if indeed this is the most definitive assessment of the risks of human-caused warming. It is! The most rigorous scientific peer review process ever assembled by humankind is leaving no more room for doubt.

With a 95 percent certainty of the main conclusion that mankind’s emissions are the leading cause for continued climate change, the debate around the science is now truly settled. Yes of course, climate models will be fine-tuned further, and more research will shed light on many important aspects of our earth’s climate system. But at this point there is no more need for continued debate over the causes. We are now more certain than ever that burning fossil fuels and deforestation are responsible for the warming of the planet and its oceans, leading to the melting of glaciers, the retreat of arctic sea ice, the rise in sea levels, and the increased occurrence of extreme weather events.

It is strange how our assessment of risk, when it comes to the only planet we have to live on, seems out of kilter with the perception of other risks. If such dire warnings were conveyed to anyone with regards to one’s health, they would rush to seek treatment overnight. If a Wall Street trader was so warned with regards to his portfolio exposure, he would rush back to the office to liquidate his position. And if told we were facing such risk in an upcoming flight, we would no doubt decline to board the plane in question. However, it seems too difficult to take the challenging yet clear steps needed to change course on greenhouse gas emissions.

Inaction on climate change has calamitous costs—economical, social, and environmental. The IPCC report states: “Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components in the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.” More specifically, the IPCC for the first time has calculated a limit of the additional carbon that can be emitted if warming is to be limited to 2 degrees Celsius. Such a reduction in emissions is still possible if we act now, but it will take serious commitment—commitment to energy efficiency, to the renewable energy sector, to our forests and agricultural lands, and to advanced information technology.

Organizations such as RMI that are working to advance market-based solutions can have great impact. RMI’s Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era provides a roadmap describing how the United States can cut fossil carbon emissions by 82 to 86 percent by 2050, at a cost $5 trillion less than maintaining a business-as-usual scenario, stabilizing energy prices, and making the U.S. grid highly resilient. Market-based solutions empower anyone, including businesses, to act. With a roadmap such as that in Reinventing Fire, we can—and must—start to act today.


ST Microelectronics Shows How $2Million Can be Saved by Energy Management

Posted by Ken on October 9, 2013
Posted under Express 200

More companies are seeing the energy saving benefits of a comprehensive energy management system, with some even going on to meet the requirements for the ISO 50001 Energy Management Certification. Amongst them is STMicroelectronics, whose all six of its silicon wafer manufacturing factories are ISO 50001 certified. This has led to an energy saving of 14 GWh, equivalent to about $2 million, in the 2013-2014 timeframe. Read more

ISO 50001 Energy-Management Certification Saves Tech Company $2M Per Year

By Linda Hardesty in Energy Manager Today (3 October 2013):

STMicroelectronics says that all six of its factories where it manufactures silicon wafers have achieved certification to the latest ISO 50001 energy-management standard.

The certification process involved developing tools to systematically measure the energy consumption of each piece of equipment, including buildings and chiller and compressed dry-air equipment, and to analyze the sites’ overall energy usage.

A common platform, which includes a documentation database, reporting tools and processes, has been developed and shared internally to establish and promote best practices.

ST estimates that the certification process will contribute to saving 14 GWh of energy and $2 million in the 2013-2014 timeframe.

ST’s Agrate site in Italy was the first to achieve the ISO 50001 certification, followed by Catania in Italy and ST’s other front-end sites in France (Crolles, Rousset, Tours) and Singapore (Ang Mo Kio). Each manufacturing site is committed to implementing energy-performance indicators to both monitor and optimize its consumption of electricity and natural gas and explore all opportunities to minimize the amount of energy used, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Because STMicroelectronics develops products and technologies to enable low energy consumption for the end user, executive management felt it was complementary for its manufacturing sites producing those products to be ISO 50001-certified.

Superseding previous national and regional standards, ISO 50001, introduced in June 2011, is based on the four-step cycle (plan-do-check-act) to implement change and continuous improvement that is the basis of ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and other established management standards.